Discussion:
Is Harry Britton, "Men's Lib" advocate, alive? (Born in 1925)
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l***@yahoo.com
2007-05-30 17:25:05 UTC
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Here are the only good photos I found:

http://ag-edit.lightlink.com/view_caption.php?image_id=76203&keyword=new+york

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegaffneys/429740597/
(this is in color)

He became a fixture first on the streets of Washington, D.C. (in the
early 1970s), and then in NYC. I first heard of him and his placards
in an Alex Beam column in the 1990s in which Beam mentioned him (not
by name), and Beam said "Poor Man. He was merely ahead of his time."
He then mocked the current mens' rights movement. I then stumbled
today on a 1980 book of photos, "Street People,"by Janet Beller, with
him on the cover! (According to what was inside, IIRC, he started
taking to the streets when he lost his job and his wife left him. She
said she'd take him back when he got a good job - and lost his
placards. He wouldn't divorce her because of his religion.)

Does anyone know more about him?

Lenona.
TedM
2007-05-30 21:30:30 UTC
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There's a Harry Britton born in Dec. 1925 who died in May 1981 in
Pasadena, California listed in the SSDI. His benefits had been sent to
Pennsylvania.

A Lillian Britton (which was Harry's wife's name) died in 1984 in
Pennsylvania. She was born in 1926.

Not sure if this is who you are looking for or not.
Jane Margaret Laight
2007-05-30 21:51:47 UTC
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http://ag-edit.lightlink.com/view_caption.php?image_id=76203&keyword=...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegaffneys/429740597/
(this is in color)
He became a fixture first on the streets of Washington, D.C. (in the
early 1970s), and then in NYC. I first heard of him and his placards
in an Alex Beam column in the 1990s in which Beam mentioned him (not
by name), and Beam said "Poor Man. He was merely ahead of his time."
He then mocked the current mens' rights movement. I then stumbled
today on a 1980 book of photos, "Street People,"by Janet Beller, with
him on the cover! (According to what was inside, IIRC, he started
taking to the streets when he lost his job and his wife left him. She
said she'd take him back when he got a good job - and lost his
placards. He wouldn't divorce her because of his religion.)
Does anyone know more about him?
Lenona.
He is on topic to this newsgroup, having died in Pasadena, California
in May of 1981, according to the Social Security Index on
ancestry.com. According to two newspaper articles I found online
(newspaperarchive.com, a pay site) he was born in Erie, Pa. on 2
December 1925 and served in the US Army Air Corps during World War
II. He was an industrial engineer for General Electric in Erie for
over twenty years, and lived in the nearby town of Harbor Creek with
his wife and three kids until he got into a pay dispute with GE and
evidently was fired. He started picketing the plant and paraded around
for seventeen months with his signs. His wife was understandably
upset, and told him to leave. So Harry became the president (and
probably sole member) of the National Association of Dissatisfied
Husbands and spent pretty much the rest of his days living in homeless
shelters, SRO hotels, YMCAs and on the street subsisting on sales
(forty bucks a week if he had a good week) of his leaflets and other
publications extolling "Husband Lib" ("It's not men's lib, it's
Husband Lib. The Bachelors are not oppressed yet").

When the First Women's Bank of New York opened in Manhattan in 1975,
there was Harry, signs and pamphlets in hand, camped outside the
building voicing his displeasure--"A woman's place is in the home, not
in the bank," he said. "There would be less muggings in the street if
women were at home to teach kids manners." He was still in NYC at the
time of the Democratic National Convention in June of 1976, but the
article noted that he was packing up his signs and papers and heading
home to Erie. When asked if he was going to Kansas City to instruct
the Republicans, Britton replied that he didn't think so. I haven't
found anything else on that site after that date, so maybe his wife
took him back.

Sounds like a true American character.

JML
l***@yahoo.com
2007-05-31 14:32:22 UTC
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Post by Jane Margaret Laight
Sounds like a true American character.
Just curious - how so?

Lenona.
l***@yahoo.com
2007-05-31 14:42:38 UTC
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On May 30, 5:51 pm, Jane Margaret Laight <***@yahoo.com> wrote:


I forgot to say: Thank you.

Lenona.
Jane Margaret Laight
2007-06-01 13:41:21 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
I forgot to say: Thank you.
Lenona.
you're welcome.

As to my other comment, let me just say that it has been my experience
that Americans tend to gravitate to eccentrics, iconoclasts, the one
person who is out of step with everyone else, the person who expresses
his individuality in such a way that he is noticed. Monomaniacal and
driven, these folks are part of the American mystique--Preston Tucker,
the developer of the automobile that bore his name, or the Emperor
Norton I, the midly insane ruler of San Francisco, or Howard Hughes--
Harry Britton with his one man crusade aganist wives, although doomed
from the outset, still got him noticed.

JML
Brad Ferguson
2007-06-01 18:00:47 UTC
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Post by Jane Margaret Laight
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I forgot to say: Thank you.
Lenona.
you're welcome.
As to my other comment, let me just say that it has been my experience
that Americans tend to gravitate to eccentrics, iconoclasts, the one
person who is out of step with everyone else, the person who expresses
his individuality in such a way that he is noticed. Monomaniacal and
driven, these folks are part of the American mystique--Preston Tucker,
the developer of the automobile that bore his name, or the Emperor
Norton I, the midly insane ruler of San Francisco, or Howard Hughes--
Harry Britton with his one man crusade aganist wives, although doomed
from the outset, still got him noticed.
I guess it did. I remember him wandering around Fifth Avenue near
Rockefeller Center, but I don't think I ever knew his name. He stood
out from among the other nuts, which I guess was the point.

Today he'd probably just stay home and spam us endlessly about how he
was as old as coal.
o***@shaw.ca
2014-02-10 03:16:17 UTC
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I just googled his name and found this chain of messages after coming across some Kodak color slides I took in NYC when visiting there for wirk training purposes in late 1977. His name was on the placard, similar to the monochrome photo linked in one of the message postings above. At the time I speculated to myself that he had probably lost home, spouse & job, evidently some form of mental health issue there. But I remember him being cheerful & obliging - even if there was something a little odd about him - when I asked his permission to take his photo. Would post his photo from 1977 here but don't see a way to do that.
danny burstein
2014-02-10 03:21:05 UTC
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I just googled his name and found this chain of messages after coming acros=
s some Kodak color slides I took in NYC when visiting there for wirk traini=
ng purposes in late 1977.
Was he the guy in midtown, dressed vaguel like Uncle Sam, with
a placard on his (sometimes hat, sometimes chest)?
--
_____________________________________________________
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
***@panix.com
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
danny burstein
2014-02-10 03:26:34 UTC
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Post by danny burstein
I just googled his name and found this chain of messages after coming acros=
s some Kodak color slides I took in NYC when visiting there for wirk traini=
ng purposes in late 1977.
Was he the guy in midtown, dressed vaguel like Uncle Sam, with
a placard on his (sometimes hat, sometimes chest)?
Ah, I just realized your ("otesaga"'s) post is courtesy of google groups,
so... I checked back and you're referring to a thread we had in
alt.obituaries back in May, 2007.

At that time one of our talented and beautiful researchers
determined that:

"He is on topic to this newsgroup, having died in Pasadena, California
in May of 1981, according to the Social Security Index on
ancestry.com."
--
_____________________________________________________
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
***@panix.com
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
o***@shaw.ca
2014-02-10 03:51:29 UTC
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Hi Danny, yes, I saw that final post as well, also on Google found a b & w photo of him taken by a magazine in the early 1970s with similar but not 100% identical placards. Am digitizing some slide photos taken by me in MYC when I stayed there for 2 months in late 1977, am living now on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada whete I have my own small law practice, but in those bachelor days of mine I worked & lived in London, UK. Was in NYC on secondment for training, loved the place. Can email u the Nov 1977 colour photo of HB if u send me test message to otesagaATshaw.ca. No spam, promise!
Cheers, Joe Simpson.
g***@gardenwife.com
2017-03-05 23:13:07 UTC
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You still have those photos handy? Google free image hosting and you'll see a few options. Then post a link to your photos? Pretty please?
l***@yahoo.com
2020-07-21 19:31:31 UTC
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Normally, I don't revive old threads. But this one NEEDS it...

Jane Margaret Laight wrote:

"I haven't found anything else on that site after (1976), so
maybe his wife took him back."


Doesn't look like it. Unfortunately, the link within this link is
broken. But the excerpts are telling.

http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/?s=Britton

When you click on "more" and scroll down to the three pages
of comments, you'll find yourself on the third page. Click on
page 1. Way down, on August 1, 2014, 3:18 am, you'll find a
link to the alt.obituaries thread!

Soon after that, "Z" says:

August 1, 2014 at 7:14 am
*jaw drops* I’ve heard of this guy before – he was featured
in a Russian book from the 1970s that describes the journey
of two Soviet journalists in the US (“Zemlya zad okeanom”,
A Land Beyond the Ocean). They didn’t take him seriously
(“Every village needs its fool”), he’s included as an amusing
detail in the description of the White House.

(end)

But here's the best part:

Sarah
August 1, 2014 at 7:19 am
Okay, so I got curious and started googling to find the rest
of this guy’s story. According to a Google groups discussion
through one of those links, his wife’s name was Lillian, she
died in 1984 and he was born in 1925 and died in 1981.
I found a (cached) page detailing their divorce (she brought
the action, and he tried to get it dismissed) and it needs to
be read because it is AWESOME. Quote:

On February 24, 1978, the wife filed a complaint for divorce,
alleging indignities and desertion. The lower court appointed a
master, who held a hearing on April 20. On April 26, the master
filed a report recommending that the wife be granted a divorce
on both of the alleged grounds. On November 28, the lower
court dismissed the husband’s exceptions to the master’s report,
stating that “[t]he Court cannot conceive of a woman who more
richly deserves a divorce than Lillian A. Britton.”

[…]

The parties were married on May 20, 1950, in Franklin Center,
Pennsylvania. From the outset, the marriage was troubled. The
parties frequently argued about financial matters. The wife wanted
new furniture for their house, but the husband thought her
unreasonable. On one occasion, the husband forced the wife to
return certain groceries because he thought her purchase of them
unnecessary. In 1964, the husband refinanced the mortgage on the
parties’ home in order to finance the purchase of ten commercial
“spots” on local television. The husband used the spots to discuss
religious matters and “how to buy a used car.” The wife thought
they could not afford the spots, but agreed to them because she
was afraid that otherwise the husband would scold her.

Throughout the marriage, the husband accused his wife of having
committed indiscretions with other men prior to their marriage.
The husband would “rant and rave” and “make life miserable”
whenever he brought this subject up. On one occasion, he threw
a dish at her, and on another occasion, he paddled her. Also,
the husband continually “scolded” his wife. He criticized her for
being late to church, although she explained that she had to get
their three children prepared to go. He did not like her associating
with other people. He did not permit her to join the Parent-Teacher
Association at the childrens’ school.

(end of excerpts)


Sad to say, I couldn't find the rest of that cached document.


Lenona.
l***@yahoo.com
2020-07-21 19:54:07 UTC
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Oops - I spoke too soon! All I had to do was search on different key phrases until I hit the right one.

https://casetext.com/case/britton-v-britton-4

But in case this one breaks too, here's most of what was missing:

From 1950 until 1966, the husband was employed by General Electric Company in Erie, Pennsylvania. In March 1966 the husband began a one-man strike against General Electric to force the company to accept a union to which the husband belonged. The husband picketed General Electric for fifteen months, during which time the family had great difficulty meeting its financial obligations. In 1967 the husband ended his strike against General Electric and took the company to court. Unable to get relief, he picketed the court and was jailed for disturbing the peace. He refused to leave the jail, believing his presence there to be an act of legitimate civil disobedience. In October 1967 the wife petitioned the court to have the husband committed to Warren State Hospital, Warren, Pennsylvania. The husband was initially committed for a 48 hour period, later amended to a 30 to 90 day period, and finally, to an indefinite period.

While committed, the husband wrote the wife several letters criticizing her for having a job and accusing her of "abandoning her children," "mother delinquency," "juvenile delinquency," and "inflation." The husband would cite passages from the Bible to the effect that women were "keepers at home" and "the woman's place" was in the home. The husband was permitted brief visits to the parties' home. On one of these, he had a severe argument with the wife about her job and her alleged infidelities. In September 1970 the husband ran away from the Warren State Hospital and fled to New York City. The wife did not see her husband until the master's hearing, almost eight years later.

Between 1970 and 1978, the husband lived in New York City and Washington, D.C. When he first arrived in New York City, he stowed away on a ship, only to be returned to the city. When his wife learned of this, she had him committed to Bellevue Hospital, but after one month, for unknown reasons, he was discharged. He subsequently went to Washington, where he picketed the White House with signs stating, "We Want Wives That Obey," "Sign Here For Husband's Liberation," and "Husband's Suffrage." The media coverage of this picketing caused the wife considerable embarrassment. In 1974, the husband wrote the wife, proposing reconciliation, but only if she would quit her job. Other similar offers of reconciliation followed. The wife refused all of them, however, because she believed the condition on them was unreasonable.

Many of the master's findings credited the wife's version of the marriage. The husband corroborated her testimony that he had accused her of indiscretions with other men prior to their marriage and that she became visibly upset as a result of these accusations. He also testified that "what she said this morning, is practically all true. I find very little to disagree with." N.T. at 66, April 20, 1978.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, we must remand this case so that the master and lower court may determine, if necessary after additional testimony, whether given the evidence of the husband's disturbed mental condition, he should be held responsible for all the indignities he has committed and his willful desertion.

The husband argues that the wife was not an "innocent and injured spouse." He claims that her "nagging of the materialism" originally led him to strike General Electric. There are indications in the record that the wife did want the family's standard of living to improve. This concern, however, did not justify any of the indignities that the husband committed.
The husband also argues that the master and the lower court erred in not appointing a guardian on his behalf, and that the case should be remanded to the lower court for a competency hearing.

(snip)



Lenona.
l***@yahoo.com
2020-07-21 20:49:16 UTC
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Oh, and I stumbled on this:

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1257373710969619&id=268770283163305&set=a.1257373684302955&refid=13&__tn__=%2B%3D

I didn't see the arrows on the slideshow right away, of course. But, when I got to the 9th slide, I found four out of six pages of his old pamphlet.

Or, just click on the left-hand arrow twice.

Trouble is, the print is tiny and I couldn't seem to enlarge it.

At any rate, he included a page of comments made by people to him on the street. One was likely a joke, if not completely fictional. Quote:

MAN: "I'm the head of my house...my wife doesn't tell me how to do the dishs (sic)."
____________________________________________

At any rate, he certainly had one very good point - and spent a whole PAGE on it. Namely, American women AND men are making their marriages miserable by spending as if living within their means is somehow degrading. Or, as he put it:

"It's not the high cost of living...
It's the cost of HIGH LIVING!"

He also claimed that "most" teens had rejected the "materialism of their parents."

It's not clear whether he really meant teens of the 1970s or teens of the 1960s.

But somehow, given everything in the court document, I doubt he would really have been any nicer to a wife who was willing to live like a church mouse.


Lenona.
l***@yahoo.com
2020-07-21 21:11:54 UTC
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Oh, and when you look really closely here -

Loading Image...

- it says:

"Today's luxuries are tomorrow's necessities."

I suspect he meant that sarcastically, since it came right after a fashion-related remark.

What he didn't realize, maybe, is that quite a few "luxuries" in our lives WILL become necessities and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Think of the dirt-poor father in the classic film "The Bicycle Thief," who probably didn't need a bike until it became the only way he could get a job. Cars typically hold the same role today. So do laptops and Smartphones.
l***@yahoo.com
2020-07-21 21:18:34 UTC
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Finally, I found that while I couldn't expand the Facebook page, the document in the link above expands easily.
Loading...